The Idrisi sisters – Zubaida (23), who is 3.5-foot tall, and Humaira (22), who is 3.9, have become mini-celebrities in their Nagpada neighbourhood. They qualified in this year’s medical entrance exam (NEET) and recently secured their MBBS admission.
Humaira has got into Topiwala Nair Medical College at Mumbai Central and Zubaida at Government Medical College in Jalgaon. The sisters who live with their three other siblings and parents – father Ahsanullah is a tailor and mother Rukhsar a homemaker, in the crowded Kazipura locality.
The Idrisi sisters, Zubaida and Humaira could not have made it to the MBBS course if not for Ashfaque Moosa of Khidmat Charitable Trust.
Last year, Moosa, who is called Ashfaque bhai, met the sisters at a dispensary and asked the two about their education. On hearing that they had abandoned their dream to be doctors and subsequently graduated in science from the nearby Maharashtra College, Ashfaque bhai told them to not give up on it. “If a six-footer needs 600 marks in NEET to get into MBBS, you need less than half of that,” he joked.
On further enquiries, the sisters found their condition was covered in the reserved category of “differently disabled” and they could take a shot at NEET.
“Ashfaque uncle hamari gudiyon ke liye farishta bankar aae (Ashfaque uncle came as an angel for my dolls),” says the sisters’ mother Rukhsar. “He showed them the path and my beloved daughters never looked back since the day they met him.”
With a revived MBBS dream in their eyes, the sisters landed at a coaching institute in Ghatkopar and were almost turned away by a staffer citing their “inadequate” height when the director saw them and asked them to wait. Their photographs were sent to the institute’s headquarters in Kota, which approved their admission with 60% concession in fees. Every day, the sisters would travel by crowded local trains from Byculla to Ghatkopar and back, till the lockdown began.
Rukhsar says she and her husband found out about the insufficient growth hormones in Zubaida and Humaira after they turned five and stopped growing. One doctor said their treatment would cost over Rs 11 lakh. “We had no money to go for costly treatment but I wanted my daughters to get educated and stand on their feet as I didn’t want them to depend on anybody’s mercy or charity,” says Rukhsar.